EZEKIEL CHAPTER 30.
The Day of Judgment upon Egypt.
ANNOUNCING THE DOOM UPON EGYPT AND ITS ALLIES. — V. 1. The word of the Lord came again unto me, the time, in this instance, not being indicated, saying, v. 2. Son of man, prophesy and say, in another message directed against Egypt, Thus saith the Lord God, Howl ye! Woe worth the day! or, “Alas for the dayl” V 3. For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near; the day of doom decided upon by Him, a cloudy day, the clouds well representative of the storm of His wrath which would break upon the entire country; it shall be the time of the heathen, when they would experience His judgment as his vengeance went forth upon them. V. 4. And the sword shall come upon Egypt, in bloody uproar and slaughter, and great pain, the most severe anguish, shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, the wealth amassed within her borders, and her foundations shall be broken down, her very existence as state being undermined. V. 5. Ethiopia, the country bounding upon Egypt on the south, and Libya, a nation toward the west, and Lydia, another African desert state, and all the mingled people, literally, “the strange people,” those allied with the Egyptians and serving together with their soldiers, and Chub, probably Nubia, and the men of the land that is in league, literally, the sons of the land of the covenant,” an expression taken by some commentators to refer to the Jews who migrated to Egypt, carrying Jeremiah with them, Jer. 42-44, shall fall with them by the sword, sharing the fate of the entire country. V. 6. Thus saith the Lord, They also that uphold Egypt, chiefly the rulers and the idols upon whom the Egyptians depended, shall fall, and the pride of her power, her proud might, shall come down; from the tower of Syene, rather, “from Migdol to Syene,” chap. 29, 10, shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord God. V. 7. And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. Cp. chap. 29, 12. V. 8 And they shall know that I am the Lord when I have set a fire in Egypt, the fire of bitter warfare, carried on by a fierce people and with relentless cruelty, and when all her helpers, allies and all others upon whom Egypt depended, shall be destroyed. V. 9. In that day shall messengers go forth from Me in ships, namely, Egyptians fleeing before the calamity threatening their country and now acting as messengers of the Lord in the sense that they could now speak from their own experience concerning the Lord’s judgments, to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, to fill them with a wholesome dread of the punishment threatening them, and great pain shall come upon them, a severe anguish, as in the day of Egypt, when the doom struck the mightier nation; for, lo, it cometh, it was inevitable, because announced by the Lord, whose word is ever fulfilled just as He has planned His punishments upon all disobedient people, to come at the time determined upon by Him.
THE SENTENCE CARRIED OUT. — V. 10. Thus saith the Lord God, I will also make the multitude of Egypt, the large population of the country, with all the wealth possessed by them, to cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who would, in every way, put an end to the prosperity of the country. V. 11. He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, for the Chaldean soldiers were known for the fierceness of their fighting, shall be brought to destroy the land, that being the expressed object of their campaign; and they shall draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain, those pierced through in the ruthless slaughter. V. 12. And I will make the rivers dry, thereby taking away from the land some of its natural means of defense and the sources of its prosperity, Deut. 32, 30, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked, like a slave sold into the power of a strange master; and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers, so that everything would be beaten down and ruined; I, the Lord, have spoken it. The description is given from the standpoint of the Egyptians, for according to their conception the Chaldeans were not only strangers, but wicked as well. V. 13. Thus saith the Lord God, I will also destroy the idols, Is. 19, 1, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph, that is, Memphis, the ancient capital of Lower Egypt; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt, namely, with the glory of time ancient Pharaohs, who were, at the same time, clothed with divine honor; and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt, so that they would be continually under its burden, without a native prince to assist them. Cp. Jer. 46, 25. V. 14. And I will make Pathros, that is, Upper Egypt, desolate and will set fire in Zoan, the old Tanis, on a branch of the Nile in Lower Egypt, and will execute judgments in No, or No-Amon, that is, Thebes, the very ancient metropolis of Upper Egypt. V. 15. And I will pour my fury upon Sin, that is, Pelusium, on one of the branches of the Nile in its delta, the strength of Egypt, for, being surrounded with swamps, it was hard to attack, and thus kept many an enemy back from the northeastern frontier; and I will cut off the multitude of No. V. 16. And I will set fire in Egypt, bitter and destructive warfare: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, overthrown as if by highway robbers, and Noph shall have distresses daily, literally, “and Noph - besiegers by day,” overrunning the city with an utter disregard of any defense. Note the continual change from Upper to Lower Egypt, to emphasize the fact that every part of Egypt would be included in time punishment meted out by the Lord. V. 17. The young men of Aven, of Heliopolis, the great city of idols in Lower Egypt, and of Pibeseth, of Boubastis, on a canal in the delta of the Nile, the center of cat-worship in Egypt, shall fall by the sword, although both of them were known on account of their valiant garrisons; and these cities shall go into captivity, that is, the inhabitants, those not belonging to the warrior caste. V. 18. At Tehaphnehes, that is, Taphne, a border city near Pelusium, also the day shall be darkened, with the shadow of the approaching calamity, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt, cp. Lev. 20, 13, so that Egypt would never again be a mistress of nations, keeping them in slavery. It was in the last-named city that the hand of Jews under the leadership of Johanan had dragged the unwilling Jeremiah, and so they were also included in the Lord’s punishment upon Egypt. And the pomp of her strength, of which Egypt had boasted throughout the centuries, shall cease in her; as for her, a cloud shall cover her, namely, that of this catastrophe, and her daughters, her cities with their inhabitants, shall go into captivity. V. 19. Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt, according to the entire description of the paragraph; and they shall know that I am the Lord, this knowledge being forced upon their unwilling minds by the almighty evidences of God’s wrath.
THE POWER OF PHARAOH DESTROYED. — V. 20. And it came to pass in the eleventh year, this vision thus being placed about three months before the capture of Jerusalem, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 21. Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and therewith all the strength of his army, upon which he depended; and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, not return to its former power, to put a roller, that is, a fillet, or splints, to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword, so that he would at all recover his former position. V. 22. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and that which was broken, the power which he had tried and would try to mend in order to regain his lost prestige; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand. V. 23. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, in an exile like that of Israel, and will disperse them through the countries. V. 24. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, who with his army was God’s weapon of punishment upon Egypt, and put my sword in his hand; but I will break Pharaoh’s arms, rendering him helpless before the invaders, and he shall groan before him, moaning before the conquering host, with the groanings of a deadly wounded man. V. 25. But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, the same statement being repeated in various forms, in order to strengthen the effect of the inevitable disaster, and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down, in helpless weakness; and they shall know that I am the Lord when I shall put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt, in token of the destruction to be brought upon the whole land. V. 20. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the Lord. The entire passage impresses the reader with the sense of the mighty majesty of God in dealing with those who have refused to heed His warnings.